Frost on the bent-down blades of cattails. Two single-prop planes from different directions—their drones blending then separating again.
The hiss of the wind. Oak leaves scud above the treetops in one direction while juncos and sparrows move through the weeds in the other.
Distant church bells ringing the 8:00 o’clock hour—the Christian call to work. The dog stands up to have another sniff at the porch floor.
Bright sun, cold wind. The blaze-orange vests of two hunters walking up the road: a father and his daughter who’s just shot her first deer.
The lilac leaves have faded and folded into a thousand variations on an origami wing, bird or bat or moth, ready for their one big flight.
High clouds move slowly in the wrong direction; the sun goes from blear to smear. Up by the barn, a large agitation of chickadees.
Despite the temperature—two degrees above freezing—a half dozen small insects dance above a branch at the woods’ edge, back-lit by the sun.
The holiday stillness is broken by the snarl of a chainsaw just over the ridge, the crack and crash. A glimpse of treetops thrashing wildly.
Low and heavy clouds. A red-tailed hawk circling over the field flaps to gain altitude, ignored by a wind-buffeted flock of crows.
Clear and still. A blue jay in the big maple drops down to the stream, and stands on the bank stabbing at the dark water with its bill.
A skim of snow lingers in the shade. At the woods’ edge, a Carolina wren is holding forth while juncos forage quietly all around him.
High winds. The tall cherry stump beside the porch has finally toppled, lying on the ground with all its small holes like a cartoon monster.
Cold rain thickens into a downpour. A Cooper’s hawk lands in the top of a tall locust and sits preening and shaking, as if taking a shower.
Cold and quiet. An argument between nuthatches is picked up and amplified by a pileated woodpecker. The old dog farts in a patch of sun.